When you are in any kind of survival situation, be it a long-term or a short-term one, food is among your highest priorities.
While it is true that you can go several weeks without food before you starve, it collapses in your physical and mental energy levels well before then will severely hamper your efforts to survive.
Accordingly, it makes sense to add naturally sourced food to your supplies and diet whenever possible, including animals that you wouldn’t normally think of as food that are nonetheless good and safe to eat. How about bobcats? Can you eat bobcats?
Yes, bobcat meat is safe to eat so long as it is properly cleaned and thoroughly cooked. Like most meat, it is calorie and protein dense, and is a great option if you are able to fine a bobcat.
Most folks living in North America have never dreamed of eating cat, but the practice is common elsewhere in the world.
The trick, in this case, will actually be finding much less successfully hunting these elusive felines.
This article will tell you everything you need to know about eating bobcat as part of your survival strategy.
Where Do Bobcats Live?
Bobcats are the most widely distributed and populous of the wild felines found throughout North and Central America, excluding feral domestic cats.
In the United States, they can be found in every state except Hawaii, and are also found in Canada and Mexico.
Highly adaptable, Bobcats prefer to live in forested areas, but they can also be found in swamps, semi-deserts areas, and mountains where they subsist on a diet of small mammals, reptiles, fish, insects, and birds.
Bobcats also, amazingly, hunt much larger prey like deer, pronghorn, and even wild hogs, hiding the carcass and returning to it several times in order to feed.
Bobcats are heavy eaters for their size, and any area where their usual prey is abundant is more likely to have bobcats nearby!
But these felines are solitary animals and tend to avoid humans wherever possible; sightings in areas of human habitation are rare.
However, they will readily defend themselves if they feel threatened or cornered, and are known to viciously defend a larger kill.
Nutritional Facts about Bobcat Meat
Bobcat meat is surprisingly nutritious, with a well-rounded profile that includes significant amounts of protein, zinc, iron, and selenium.
Bobcat meat is also a good source of B vitamins like niacin and thiamin, with lesser amounts of vitamin B6.
Though typically lean, bobcat meat does have some fat and will provide a good combination of quick- and long-lasting energy.
Do Bobcats Taste Good?
Yes, generally. Though the cat is near the bottom of the list when it comes to meat choices for your average American, it does taste pretty good, comparing favorably with a lean pork cutlet.
Most surprisingly, so long as it is prepared correctly bobcat meat is usually devoid of the “gamey” taste that is typical of many predators.
Bobcat has long been considered “trash” meat suitable only for eating in extremis or for serving to dogs, but this experience is wholly underserved for the most part.
This is likely due to the fact that most of the bobcat meat eaten in America has either been botched during cleaning and preparation or is otherwise low quality. When properly cleaned and cooked, however, bobcat meat can be quite palatable.
Can You Eat Raw Bobcat Meat?
No! Raw bobcat, like all raw meats, can harbor harmful bacteria and other nasty microorganisms that can make you very sick.
Of particular concern is toxoplasmosis, which is caused by a protozoan that can infect both felines and humans.
This microorganism often doesn’t make cats sick, but it can be deadly for people with weakened immune systems, including pregnant women and young children.
Another common bacteria found in raw meats is Salmonella, which can cause food poisoning. The symptoms of Salmonella infection include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and fever.
Lastly, especially common in bobcats, is trichinella, a parasitic roundworm that can cause trichinosis.
Left untreated, it can lead to muscle pain, inflammation of the brain and heart, and even death!
That sounds horrendous, but keep in mind that you can ill-afford even simple food poisoning when in a survival situation.
To avoid such an unhappy turn of events, you must, must cook bobcat meat well-done through and through, specifically until it reaches a sustained internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
This is the only way to ensure that all of the harmful germs and other bad stuff are dead prior to eating.
Can You Eat the Skin of a Bobcat?
Yes, though you probably should not waste the time. The skin of a bobcat does not make for good eating, and then even if you wanted to you’d have to deal with removing the fur.
Best to stick with spending your effort on prepping the meat, which is the real prize.
Are Bobcat Bones Safe to Eat?
Yes and no. You cannot directly eat bobcat bones, even when cooked. They are much too hard, and will only serve to break your teeth.
Worst case scenario even if you could manage to eat them they can cause you to choke, block your intestines or even splinter and lacerate you internally. Yikes!
However, bones can supply you with excellent nutrition through the marrow inside them, if you can get it out.
One way it to simply put the bones in a pot with some water, and boil them for at least an hour.
This will draw all of the nutrients out of the bones and into the water, making for a delicious and health-giving broth full of protein, minerals, and other good stuff. This can serve as-is, or be used as the basis for a fortified soup or stew.
Another way, which takes a bit more upfront effort but rewards you with more concentrated nutrition, is to crack the bones open (use a rock, hammer or saw) and then extract the marrow whole to be cooked and eaten as-is or added to other food.
Don’t try to eat the bones whole, obviously, but definitely don’t discard them if you can make use of the marrow.
Are a Bobcat’s Organs Safe to Eat?
Yes, usually. Organ meat is another touchy subject with some people, even hunters. If you are squeamish and uneducated about organs, you should probably avoid trying to eat them in a survival situation.
That said, most of the organs of a bobcat are perfectly safe and healthy to eat when properly cleaned and prepared.
The best and safest organ by far is the heart, which is pretty much all muscle. Other good choices include the liver and kidneys though you’ll need to be more cautious with both…
The liver, while very nutritious, can contain high levels of toxins if the animal was not healthy, while the kidneys tend to taste pretty gross unless soaked in water or milk before being expertly cooked.
The stomach and intestines are controversial: they are safe to eat, but both must be cleaned completely of all waste products before prepping and cooking.
This is not always possible or worthwhile in a survival situation, so unless you are confident in your ability to clean them properly it is probably best to pass on them.
Tom Marlowe practically grew up with a gun in his hand, and has held all kinds of jobs in the gun industry: range safety, sales, instruction and consulting, Tom has the experience to help civilian shooters figure out what will work best for them.